The Gospel reveals that growth and knowledge often take time to develop. This process of maturity reminds us that our own spiritual life requires a steady discipline of commitment over the entire course of our lives.
Tag Archives: Growth
Jesus offers practical advice for dealing with broken relationships in a way that is empowering and crucial for our personal growth.
Study: Recall the people in life who have loved us unconditionally. How did their love help you change and grow?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace to recognize the people in our midst we are called to love.
Serve: Love takes many forms. What can I do today for another person out of love?
For the last few weeks our lives have been disrupted – in great and small ways – by COVID-19. Our “normal” routines and expectations have been cast aside as we have made changes in response to this health threat.
And while this change is substantial, it is good to remember that we are constantly making adjustments to our lives. Nothing stays the same, and in the changes we face we discover new opportunities to grow.
Change is a part of life. Through our experiences and encounters we develop and discover new perspectives and resources within our lives. Change happens when we open our hearts to those around us and put into action our new insights.
In the Gospel Jesus states that to love him means to keep his commandments. There are two:
1. Love God
2. Love one another.
It is important to note that these commands are not just about being busy. To love means to be in relationship with others; love invites us to grow in our awareness and understanding for one another. This knowledge leads to greater respect and value for all life.
In the Gospel love is a verb. It must be acted upon, practiced, and carried out in all parts of life. To love means to work at a relationship – and thus be open to spend the time and effort necessary.
Yet when we open our hearts to love we are changed. As we experience love, as we work at it, we discover that our hearts get stretched. We become challenged to grow, to make room so that we can love more deeply, more completely.
Jesus promises that we will have help. As we open our lives to the power of love, the Spirit will come to help us and guide us. Transformed by love, we trust that God will continue to direct us, until the cycle of love and change brings us one day to the Kingdom of Heaven.
As we bring the year 2019 to a close, perhaps it makes sense to take a brief walk back through the last twelve months and reflect on how our lives have changed. Where did we experience moments of growth? Where did we experience God’s grace? May we look back and count our blessings as we prepare for a New Year.
Happy New Year!
In our best moments we know that we are works in progress – people growing through the ups and downs of life – and that we have to follow directions because some assembly is required. May we trust in the Lord to lead us through this life as we follow with all our heart.
Study: Reflect on a moment of profound change in your life. What lessons did you learn?
Pray: Ask the Lord for guidance to proclaim the Good News in your current situation.
Serve: Do you know someone who is experiencing great change right now? How can you help them?
About this time of year students experience transition. The academic year is coming to a close, classes are wrapping up, papers are written and exams taken. It is a time where one can clearly see change: teachers and classmates conclude their studies and look to new opportunities and experiences in the summer.
For some it might be work; others might attend summer school; still others might experience a move to a new location. Change takes many forms, but through it all some key points emerge:
- New People
- New Locations
- Opportunity to apply learning to life
The Feast of the Ascension is one such moment of profound change in the early Church. Rejoicing with one another over the Resurrection, the apostles were flying high – the Lord is risen! In this moment of enthusiasm and hope, the Lord (truly in the role of Teacher) shares with them a new lesson – it’s time to change and grow.
Now they are the ones who must teach; they are the ones chosen to proclaim the Good News; through their efforts the Holy Spirit will empower them to heal and drive out demons. Simply put, the Ascension of Jesus clears the way for the disciples to apply the Lord’s teaching in their own lives as they continue Christ’s mission in the world.
We are part of that mission. We received our faith from those who came before us, and today we have an opportunity to proclaim the Good News to those in our lives. Here are some thoughts:
- Family – who often see us in unguarded moments
- Friends – sustained and strengthened by our efforts
- Coworkers – witness our character and conviction
- Classmates – supported and encouraged in learning
- Neighbors – perceive our actions and effort
- Strangers – 1st impressions that point to Christ
- Enemies – encounter justice and mercy with forgiveness
The Good News takes many forms, and in our moments of transition we are given new opportunities to act. May the Ascension of our Lord inspire us to look for change in our own lives and seek ways where we can live joyful lives as disciples of Jesus Christ!
Note: This post was first published on May 12, 2015.
Gardeners know that fruitful plants begin from tiny seeds that grow slowly and steadily through a process of change. God brings about transformation in a similar way in our souls: we start small, work a process of growth and the Lord gives the grace we need.
Study: Recall a time of profound change and growth in your life. What helped you become better?
Pray: Ask the Lord for the grace to face difficult challenges and embrace them.
Serve: Who in your life is confronting change right now? How can you help them?
First, let’s take a quick summary of the key themes in the readings this week:
- 1st Reading – The Lord plants a tree in Israel
- Psalm – “Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.”
- 2nd Reading – We aspire to please God, whether at home or far away
- Gospel – Jesus offers the parable of the mustard seed
Now that June is in full swing the color green is flourishing across the upper Midwest. Summer delights the eye with growth and life, and from my view along the shore of Lake Superior this is most evident in the beauty of trees.
I have walked Wisconsin forests my entire life, and I find a peace and serenity among the grandeur and power of trees. They anchor the soil, provide habitat for wildlife, shade for the weary, and a renewable resource for humanity’s handiwork.
Yet for the majesty of trees, they all start small – from a pine cone or an acorn, a “helicopter” seed or a shoot – massive trees have humble, tender beginnings.
Just like our faith.
We know from our own experience that all good things take time and effort to develop; growth and change occur through new encounters. The process reminds us of two key points:
- We have daily opportunities to grow. Every day provides new ways for us to develop the gifts and talents God has given.
- We are works in progress. While we might lament that we are not where we want to be, we can face the challenges before us with the grace of Christ
In the first point we recognize opportunity and growth; in the second point we face obstacles with hope that these challenges will teach us new insights. Growth and change are part of life. What’s more, this change almost always begins from a small and humble beginning.
Where in your life do you have opportunities to grow? Where do you see challenges that will require new ways of thought and action? Take time to seek the Lord – to start small like a little seed – and grow in these moments into a new creation, guided and empowered to become more fully alive.
Now matter where we are in the journey of faith, may we open our hearts to God’s grace as we grow in faith, hope, and love as disciples of Jesus Christ!
One of the hallmarks of the Early Church was the transformation that took place in the hearts of the disciples. Standing before the Risen Lord, they were freed from the fear of sin and death as they opened their hearts to the power of repentance. Their example inspires us to call upon God for the grace we need every day to walk in the light His love.
As the disciples moved from doubt to bold belief, we see the process that often accompanies our transformation in faith. We need time to understand, integrate and apply God’s grace to our lives; may this Easter season help us to proclaim the Good News with boldness!